War and Peace (commentary)

I don’t honestly know how I feel about American Sniper.

I’m not into war movies to begin with. I think we glorify war far too often, and even when it’s a “good” war (a dangerous idea in any context), I don’t usually find it very interesting. True, it is a part of human history. Maybe the biggest part. It is worth exploring, but it’s also easy to get swept up in this idea of glory of war and nobility of the soldier on the battlefield and other such nonsense.

War is ugly. It’s horrible. It is, even when necessary, brutal and terrible and to ever see it as triumph isn’t something I can easily get behind. Even when a story takes pains to portray war as gray and dismal, it’s far too easy to miss the point and be swept up in the fervor of death and destruction.

What I do think is that there is a difference between fictional war stories and real ones. There is something very unsettling to me about venerating a real man who had the real job of shooting real people. I don’t say that in judgment of anyone’s actions, but we’re still neck deep in this Middle East quagmire, and there’s a lot of baggage all the way around.

Even removing all that, there’s something unsettling to me that we still innately celebrate our ability to kick ass as the measure of a man and a nation. It’s an action movie mentality, where if you can’t beat the hell out of someone, you aren’t worthy of respect. And, sure, I love action movies, but I don’t want to live in an action movie universe.

We are animals. Vicious, aggressive, tribal beasts. It’s built into our DNA, and while I don’t have any intrinsic problem with a movie like American Sniper, I do find many reactions to it disturbing. From what I’ve heard, it’s a fairly unexceptional film. Yet there are going to be those who love it simply for the fact that it’s a movie celebrating American violence (even if it means to bring more subtlety to the discussion) where a white American goes to a foreign land and shoots a lot of brown people.

I’m not going to call its hero a coward because he was a sniper. War isn’t won by honor. It’s a dirty business and to think otherwise is stupid. What does it matter if you shoot a man from six feet away or a thousand? You’re still killing somebody. Only an idiot would think there was more honor in killing at close range. There’s only more danger.

Amid all the discussion of war, violence, politics, racism, and blind patriotism, there’s just too much to really nail down here. I think it’s a shame that, on this MLK weekend, MLK still can’t really achieve mainstream acceptance while war and brutality continue to hold endless, visceral fascination for us as a species. In the end, we love watching people get killed.

It is who we are.

But I’ll admit, I’d love for it not to be one day.

Keelah Se’lai

Fighting the good fight, Writing the good write,


This entry was posted in Blog, Commentary. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  1. Posted January 19, 2015 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    You nailed the sense of unease. I feel the same way. People doing horrible things to other people and people who are forced to do horrible things to other people…it was like a watching a horror movie. I’m not saying it was a horror movie, but it left me with the same feeling of unease and dread.

  2. JB Sanders
    Posted January 19, 2015 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    War is ugly and brutal, and those that glorify it are usually those that have never fought in one and have no qualms against sending others to fight and die while they stay back where its safe and secure. Am I going to denigrate those that fought and died, or those that fought and survived? Hell no. Once you get to know those who fought, you realize even though they came back physically whole, emotionally they have lost something and it takes a long time for them to heal, and some never do, that’s why the suicide rate is so high among returning combat veterans.

    I will respect those people because of shared experiences, knowing how hard it is to be in those situations. Of those that want to thank a person who served for their service, most don’t understand why they are doing it. Its like its become the chic thing to do and you have to bite your tongue and be gracious when what you really want to do is scream Fuck You for being so condescending. I’m not your monkey sent here to entertain you, because that’s what we’ve become,

    For Michael Moore to call a man a coward because of his skill set is to me the epitome of ignorance, To point a gun at someone, man, woman, or child, and pull the trigger in order to save your friends takes more courage than that man will ever know. Unless you’re a psychopath it will eat at your soul every time. War is ugly and brutal, but often necessary, but should be the avenue of last choice. People can’t understand that, but they need too.

    Like the gladiators of ancient Rome, a soldier is often put in a position where they have a choice of fighting or dying, while those that put them there extol the virtues of combat, and critique it like its a game.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

  • копирайтинг
  • SEO копирайтинг
  • копирайтер
  • копирайтеры
  • рерайт
  • рекламная кампания
  • обслуживание сайта
  • биржи статей
  • пресс-релизы
  • статьи для сайта
  • новости для сайта
  • коммерческое предложение
  • продающий текст
  • слоган
  • нейминг
  • Website Design & Wordpress Template by A.J. Roberts